Inscrit le: 19 Sep 2009
Sam 17 Oct - 12:39 (2009)
These weapons fire a coherent beam of gravitons, crushing anything in their cylinder of fire into a spaghetti-like string. Their damage is rated at Stringtech 6.
Tech Level: Stringtech 6
Descriptors: Near-c, Energy
Almost every single item listed in this chapter either depends on computers for use (Lenses, Psychohistory, Memetics) or has one built in (everything else). In general, anything you’ve heard of a computer doing in real life, the ones in S.A. can do with no delay. If you need a computer, typically all you need to do is talk, and one will respond. If you’re from a high-tech culture, they’re built into your clothing. If you’re in high-tech surroundings, they’re integrated into the buildings, roads, and home appliances. They are effectively omnipresent, and the term “infosphere” is used rather than “internet” or “web” because computers and information flow are more like the atmosphere on modern Earth than the computers there.
The average computer is about the size of the last joint on your fingers, and provides more power than all the computers on 21st century Earth. A truly high-end computer would be roughly the size of 20th century desktops, and could hold a Stored or sophisticated AI inside. At high levels of Nanotech, one can build self-assembling, low-end computers into fingernail polish.
Computing power is a public utility in some civilizations (Masquerade, Stardwellers, Union), a private right in others (Tao, Mechanica, most Indie worlds), and still others treat it as a privilege reserved for the wealthy (Cargo Cults). Even if it’s not a utility (like water or electricity), one can almost always find companies on the infosphere who are willing to sell computer time to programmers with particularly complex jobs.
The only significant delay when using the infosphere is when information has to be accessed from off-planet, typically via wormhole. Not all information is free, but significant amounts of it are, depending on which civilization you’re part of.
Tech Level: n/a
Descriptors: Near-c, Energy
An AI that’s a little short on the “I” part. They’re very good at pattern recognition, and can respond with certain recorded messages and programs, but they have no real volition or consciousness. The classical data ghost is a program that looks out for particular events on the infosphere, and reports them to a human supervisor. Used by the police, as well as anyone who provides a “storefront” on the infosphere.
Tech Level: Cognitech 4
These fields induce normal matter moving above a certain speed to spontaneous decay into weakly interacting dark matter. Any objects moving above the speed of a slow gunshot decay and pass through the target without effect. This defense is rated at Stringtech 8. Note that rooms with this field active will slowly be reduced in temperature and pressure, as all of the high- velocity air molecules disappear.
Tech Level: Stringtech 6
Descriptors: Supersymmetric, energy-transparent
The swiss army knife of nanotech, dermal microbots are tiny robots that crawl around on one’s skin. A base station provides coordination and power. When some of them are destroyed or reach the end of their useful lives, the base station fabricates more in order to maintain their numbers.
The robots can sense their user’s position and voice, allow interface with computers, project images onto flat surfaces, communicate with other people’s microbots, and even perform minor sterilization and hair maintenance. They can spread wide to act as a telescope lens or parabolic microphone, or cluster to inspect tiny objects. As a side effect, dermal nanobots can use their tiny lasers to clear away dead skin and smooth out wrinkles, making people look younger.
Tech Level: Nanotech 5
Descriptors: Microscopic, Auxon
Not a true nuclear bomb, just a lot of radioactive crap strapped onto some high explosives. Dirty bombs are still quite dangerous, as cleaning up the radiation can take a long time. The actual explosion is a Stringtech 5 attack, but their primary use is for the fallout, which can be a weapon used in biowarfare. Treat it as an attack with the Medical skill, with an extra three points of Reserve lost on a failed roll. A favorite Darwinian weapon.
Tech Level: Stringtech 3
Descriptors: Energy, the fallout is also Microscopic
These beams are electromagnetic waves tuned to a particular molecular bond strength (or, in highertech versions, several different bonds at once). The resonance they induce overloads those bonds, and matter literally falls apart at the touch of this beam. When used in combat it can deal damage rated at up to Stringtech 6. Its “tunability” is exceptionally useful against nanophages, since it can strike the bonds holding the phages together without severely damaging human beings. Crisis control personnel armed with these weapons receive a +1 bonus on rolls against nanophage blooms. For this reason, dissociation beams are common police weapons in high-tech societies.
Tech Level: Stringtech 5
Descriptors: Energy, Near-c
Alcohol, LSD, and crack are like sledgehammers to the system. The drugs available in the modern age are significantly more sophisticated. The current state of biotech and nanotech allow drugs to block or overload very specific receptors in the brain, and then wash straight out of the body. Imagine alcohol without the hangover, or morphine without the physical addiction. You can do the reverse, too — imagine LSD that isn’t water-soluble, and stays inside your brain for months. An easy guideline is this: think of something a drug (or nearly any sort of biological agent) does today, and either take out the side effects or isolate them and use them, as strong or as weak as you like.
Having a mesh also opens billions more possibilities. Not only can you buy a Lens to simulate your drug of choice perfectly, but you can get another one to get rid of the hangover and a third to help you reinforce your choice to quit (if you even make such a choice). But why stop there? Designer drug Lenses, recorded dreams and fantasies, bizarre hallucinations guaranteed not to make you accidentally throw yourself off the rooftops, satori Lenses (making you feel like you’ve been enlightened), buying express computer time to make yourself “smarter,” and more.
Of course, you have to choose to do these things to yourself. No one can do them to you unless you’ve been foolish enough to install a slave lens. However, there are still dangers. “Trojan horse” Lenses can wreak havoc on your mind and body through your mesh. Even a child knows no one can control you through a neural mesh... but when you run a Lens, you’re turning over control to the Lens’ programmer.
Civilizations that have freely available or unregulated drugs tend to, by necessity, develop a culture that watches carefully for drug overuse. While most people are unlikely to go on a serious bender, others will end up sliding into a psychotropic stupor unless they have a serious support network.
Tech Level: Bio 2 for most drugs. By Bio 4 you can remove or isolate side effects to your heart’s content.
Cost: Typically Low
Descriptors: Typically none, but sometimes Auxon, Dataform, Microscopic, or Procedure
Electric Power Plants
Initially, power plants are hydroelectric or coalburning. For civilizations who have progressed past that but who are not advanced enough to generate and control antimatter, fusion plants provide the majority of electrical power. They have large startup costs, but are easy to obtain fuel for, and inexpensive to maintain when compared to fission plants. Around Stringtech 7, antimatter becomes available and the cost of electricity drops significantly. One still has to get the electricity from place to place, which is the major cost.
Tech Level: Stringtech 2, 4, or 7
The League of Independent Worlds’ low Metatech scores make it difficult for them to induce emotions in their foes, so they worked around the problem by creating these. A typical example of the Independents’ bizarre technology, this nonlethal weapon induces particular electrical patterns in a target’s brain. Its effect is to induce an overwhelming emotion in the target. Helplessness, fear, and calm are common choices.
In physical combat, treat this as a nonlethal weapon (with Power 7) whose effects are resisted by Metatech or a Metatech- based Profession. In a Metatech assault, treat this as a weapon with a Metatech rating of 7, which uses Nanotech, Police, or Soldier to attack and is resisted normally. In both cases, use the wielder’s Stringtech Reserve if Reserve points are desired. This weapon imposes a -2 penalty to hit because of the exceptional precision required. It cannot affect anyone but its target — there is no “collateral emotional damage.”
Tech Level: Stringtech 7 and Cognitech 6
Descriptors: Near-c, Energy
Environmental fabrication creates self-contained, self-maintaining ecological environments. It is very useful in the construction of generation ships and space stations, as well as for biological research. This technique is limited by the size of the environment to be created; higher levels of technology relax that limitation. See Terraforming (page 149) for a significantly larger-scale version.
Tech Level: Biotech 7, Nanotech 4, Cognitech 6
Cost: Moderate to Expensive, depending on size.
These lenses impose a system of ethics on the people who wear them. They do not necessarily force those people to follow said morals; instead the lens points out any actions that go against the chosen ethical model well before events get out of hand. Because such lenses smack of the Union, most civilizations only use these lenses in tightly restricted situations, such as for criminal rehabilitation or law officer training. They are also occasionally found in corporate settings, where those in leadership positions get such meshes and wear them while at work, reducing the risk of corruption and unethical behavior (as well as the company’s insurance premiums). The downside is that these lenses are programmed by fallible, sometimes even dishonest human beings.
Tech Level: Cognitech 6
Cost: Public domain
Those who know this procedure are assured that others cannot ignore them. Whether used to make a grand entrance or simply to keep someone from walking away from your conversation, Eye-Catching Stance deals an extra point of Reserve in all one-on-one Metatech-based conflicts, and also prevents others involved in the conflict from simply walking away or filtering out the character with a mesh for the first three timeslices of conflict. This technique must be used as a character’s first action in a conflict, and cannot be used again later in the same conflict.
Tech Level: Metatech 7
A spray can full of foam, which expands greatly and hardens almost immediately (Biotech 10 or Stringtech 4 to break). Developed by the Spacers to help seal air leaks, fast-foam has also found some use as a “non-lethal” weapon (it can still easily cause suffocation) in other civilizations. Fast-foam can be used in physical combat as a non-lethal weapon rated at Stringtech 6.
Tech Level: Nanotech 4
This beam floods an object with particles that carry the weak nuclear force, inducing a spontaneous nuclear reaction. Elements less heavy than iron fuse together; those heavier quickly fission. The effect is similar to that of a dissociation beam, but on a deeper level. These weapons deal damage rated at Stringtech 10, and also do an extra point of Reserve damage.
Tech Level: Stringtech 9
Descriptors: Near-c, Supersymmetric
< ENCADRE >
Familiars are AIs who assist characters in computer-related actions. They come in three varieties: Servile, Scout, and Bonsai. Each type provides the use of the Programmer profession, as well as certain other benefits. They are a potent source of knowledge, and can assist less intelligent characters very well, but truly powerful familiars will have their own agendas.
Servile familiars are not true AIs, but programs designed to emulate a personality and self-awareness. They are significantly less powerful than the other varieties, and aren’t free. However, they have no agenda of their own and are significantly safer. They can still aid in infosphere searches, voice-recognition, and repetitive tasks, and often have links to their creating company’s databases. They also take up less space, and are typically upgradable. If a Servile familiar’s Cognitech is more than one point higher than any of its owner’s Capabilities, that character’s Import drops by one point.
Bonsai AIs are independent machine intelligences that have intentionally stayed small. Perhaps they find humanity interesting. Perhaps they find expanding into a planet-sized Aia wasteful (or simply boring). Maybe they like the comparatively slow pace of life at the organic level. Though not as capable as Scouts, Bonsais are easier to trust. They certainly have their own agendas, but their employers can at least be sure that a bonsai doesn’t have anyone else’s agenda programmed in, or a secret back door that lets their true master control them. Most trustworthy Bonsais are “bonded” by the AIRCC (AI Relations Cultivation Corporation, run by a group of Stored), who ensure their lawfulness, stability, and responsibility. If a Bonsai familiar’s Cognitech is more than two points higher than any of its owner’s Capabilities, that character’s Import drops by one point.
Scout familiars are agents of the Aia. Whereas human beings use microbots and nanomachines to collect data from the air and energies around them, the large AIs use “tiny” self-aware scout programs. These familiars are able to retrieve certain types of information more easily, due to their link with the Aia. They are also experienced in surveillance and reconnaissance. However, they are also pawns of the Aia, programmed to gather information primarily about the other AIs, but also about humanity. You can never be sure what sort of information they’re sending out. If a Scout familiar’s Cognitech is more than three points higher than any of its owner’s Capabilities, that character’s Import drops by one point. A Scout familiar is an excellent excuse to purchase Comprehension (My Familiar Told Me).
All familiars can use the Programmer Profession. Serviles have it at level 3, Bonsais at levels 4-7, and Scouts at levels 5- 9. Their Cognitech and Metatech are typically within one point of their Programmer scores. Bonsai familiars typically have several Locality professions at 3+. Scout familiars have the Spy profession at level 6+. Serviles have no additional skills, but are more willing to act as answering machines, perform infosphere searches, and carry out other tedious tasks.
To have a familiar, a character must provide it a computer to “live” in (at least 50 milliliters), pay for its activities, and maintain a congenial relationship with it. Most will demand constant infosphere access, and may refuse to follow the character into a region that the infosphere does not reach. Serviles can simply be purchased, but Bonsai and Scout familiars are intelligent living beings. They are “summoned” by creating an infosphere beacon that broadcasts the summoner’s DNA, typically obtained through a prick on the finger or a piece of hair. Many potential familiars will look over and possibly even simulate the code, decide who they’re interested in working for, and contact that person to negotiate terms.
Tech Level: Cognitech 4+
Cost: Low, but recurring
Descriptors: Dataform. Some Scouts are Auxons.
< /ENCADRE >